Worker representation and participation

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When do the new WHS laws come into effect?

WA’s Work Health and Safety legislation is not expected to come into force until January 2022. This means that the current occupational, mines safety and petroleum safety legislation still applies.

Download an overview to the new WHS laws

The Overview of Western Australia’s Work Health and Safety Act 2020 provides information on the new WHS laws that come into effect in 2022.

Download the overview

This information is designed to help WA organisations and their associated workforces (including volunteers) prepare for the new Work Health and Safety laws. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Workers are entitled to:

  • elect a health and safety representative (HSR) if they wish to be represented by one
  • request the formation of a health and safety committee 
  • cease unsafe work in certain circumstances 
  • have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved through an agreed issue resolution procedure
  • not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues.

Transition arrangements for health and safety representatives

A HSR is a person elected by a work group they are a member of to represent the health and safety interests of the group. 

Any worker can ask the PCBU for whom they are carrying out work to facilitate the election of one or more Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) for the workplace. There can be as many HSRs and deputy HSRs as needed after consultation, negotiation and agreement between workers and the PCBU.

Once determined, the PCBU must keep a current list of all HSRs and deputy HSRs for the workplace(s) and display a copy at the relevant workplace. 

Transition arrangements for health and safety representatives 

A three-year term of office under the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) applies to HSRs elected after the WHS Act comes into force. However, safety and health representatives elected under current legislation can:

  • serve out the balance of their term; or
  • be elected under the WHS Act for a three year term if a request for a HSR election is received. 

Looking for more information? 

For detailed information on representation and participation of workers under the Act, refer to the Overview of Western Australia’s Work Health and Safety Act 2020.

Note: The Department is developing a code of practice on consultation processes.

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